Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Monday, December 9, 2002

Dear Fellow Lucy Fans,

50 Things to Love...

The December 14 issue of TV Guide magazine devotes a few pages to "50 Things to Love About Television," by their own Matt Roush. Happily, Lucy's Vitameatavegamin routine is included on the list. It kicks off a contest in which readers are invited to send in their own 50 favorites. While we seldom indulge in "calls to arms," it would be nice if every Lucyfan entered the contest. Think about it...

Hollywood Memorabilia Auction

Hollywood memorabilia collectors may want to check out next week's "Profiles in History" auction. It will be held in Beverly Hills next Tuesday, December 17, and includes a vast array of Hollywood-related items. (For complete information, visit the Profiles in History website at The catalog seems to be offering everything from Marilyn Monroe's personal script for her last film, "Something's Gotta Give" to Walter Plunkett's costume sketches for Judy Garland's "Born in a Trunk" number in "A Star is Born."

Lucyfans will find a few items of interest. Included in the auction is Ret Turner's costume design for the black dress Lucy wore to the 1989 Oscar Awards (her last major appearance):

Also being offered are various letters written to designer Walter Plunkett by various celebrities, including a 1970 note from Lucy. The letter appears to be answering a letter Plunkett wrote to Lucy following the death of their good friend designer Eddie Stevenson:

Vivian Vance's Emmy nomination plaque for I Love Lucy, 1956, is also included in Tuesday's auction:

And lastly, there is a sketch drawn by designer Elois Jenssen for an outfit worn by Lucille Ball in the famous "LA At Last"/Brown Derby episode of I Love Lucy.

Two things caught my eye:
  • 1. The photo included in the catalog does NOT show Lucy in the outfit featured in the sketch! The sketch is for the suit Lucy wore to the Brown Derby, NOT the black-sequined housecoat she wore in the hotel suite scene with William Holden.

  • 2. The sketch is NOT the sketch Elois drew for Lucy back in 1955. It is one in a series of an exact "remakes" of various Lucy costume sketches that Elois drew in 1975, complete with Elois-recreated "OK LB" approvals. They were made for nostalgia-related fashion shows of the time.

This last point raises the question: when is an original NOT an original? Clearly, the sketch was drawn by Elois Jenssen, and it is an exact duplicate of the sketch she herself drew in 1955. We are concerned, however, that the catalog fails to note that this is a remake, and the unsuspecting buyer would never know. It is particularly irksome that the catalog mentions that the sketch is "signed by Lucille Ball in blue ink at the lower left, 'OK,LB'" when, in fact, Lucy never came into contact with the 1975 remake-sketches.

If there is a moral, it is "Buyer Beware." Now that everything from soup to nuts to the proverbial kitchen sink is being sold at auctions and on e-bay, Lucyfans more than ever need something/someone to serve as an "authentication/clearing house" to guard against fraud. In the next few weeks, I plan to speak with Ric Wyman of the Jamestown Lucy-Desi Museum to get such a project underway. As always, we would love to have your thoughts on the matter.

Thanks for "stopping by." Have a great week!


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